February 7th, 2011
|11:04 pm - Outcasts - no spoilers|
I just watched the first episode of Outcasts, the new BBC SF series. My quick verdict is that I think the premise and plot are good, quite intriguing, but the dialogue was awful. People solemnly announcing facts that everyone already knew. But that might just be first episode need to get a lot of exposition out of the way. I hope. We could have understood enough to get by with much less exposition. We didn't need to know that many detailed facts - we could get the general gist - and those we needed to know could have been conveyed more obliquely.
And the description of certain bad things that had happened years before sounded ridiculous as a gloomy speech. It wouldn't have been ridiculous as either flashbacks or a prologue. I would have chosen intrusive chaotic flashback-memories.
I think modern audiences are quite happy to jump in and work things out as they go. British TV execs always underestimate the sophistication of the viewing public, and perhaps particularly how comfortable they are to dive into an SF story, without having every detail explained. Of course there are pedants who want every fact filled in, but most people are happy to wing it.
I just tweeted that Outcasts feels like it's trying too hard. There's a carefully cultivated malaise about the characters and plot - everyone drifts around numbly. Even when they're fighting and shooting it's hard to care. (I did feel very sorry for the little boy, but probably that's just the new parent in me.)
I know what you mean about the exposition - too much too soon and it really didn't need it. It didn't help that none of the major story threads were particularly interesting, and most were downright predictable, so there was nothing to help you barrel past the exposition.
Also why SF feels the need to beset itself with random acronymns like PAS and XPs when they add nothing to our appreciation of the setting or the drama is beyond me.
Ultimately, I just didn't care, which is not a great sign in an opening episode. I'll stick with it and see if it picks up tomorrow.
I think some of the storylines are a bit easy to anticipate. I was surprised by the big event at the end though.
I didn't expect the desert storyline to go quite the way it did. The other big storyline I did expect.
I just couldn't make it past the dialogue and the acting.
I wonder whether the dialogue was butchered by execs in the process of approval. I think it may be a product of an overall suspicion of SF, and as I say an underestimation of what audiences can cope with. It certainly was atrocious.
Too humourless and insipid for me, alas.
I've just finished for the day so I'm going to log off now and go watch part 2; perhaps it will be better?
I'll await further updates from LJ and Twitter.
My update - you missed nothing
That's a real shame, it has such a wonderful cast.
Just watched episode 1. Totally agree with you on the point about having everything explained. Having an early explanation of mental illness in a character spoils the hours of interest in trying to establish their motivations and actions. Too simple.